Does love conquer all?

A whirlpool of emotions pulls me under yet again. I’m left fighting for every single damn breath. Drowning in my own pain. Suffocating in my secret world of suffering and anguish. A huge lump sits in my throat and my chest tightens by the second. My hands wring in worry and I clench my already aching jaw. I wish I was anywhere right now, except here. Ground, open up and swallow me. Sleep, come and claim me for ever…anything to take away this constant torture of fear, anxiety and depression.

And that’s what a casual visit to the play park does to me.

Sitting watching my kids enjoy the freedom of carefree interactions, I cower, imprisoned in my mind and body as I have to answer the innocent questions of a chatty mum. I wonder why I bothered trying to get out of the house. Why I’m putting myself through this again.

And as I write this I realise that I did it for my kids because they needed to play. Perhaps love IS stronger than the demons that grip me. Perhaps there is hope that one day I will experience peace and joy. It seems such an impossibility right now. But maybe, just maybe.

Is this how you feel when you attempt simple tasks? Does the power of love conquer everything? I hope so.

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My friend anger

Anger. My friend all these years. Always been with me through thick and thin, in every season of my life. Don’t you think we should reminisce for a while dear fear….

I effortlessly recall…I am a tiny, sweet child, hiding in the darkness of my bedroom while you shout and scream at each other. Poised to jump back into bed in case you find me on my hands and knees at the door. Listening. Wincing.

I am a young girl shaking with fear as you yell angrily at each other. Slurred and hateful. I clutch a candlestick that I’ve been told to take as you stumble down the stairs claiming you were pushed. I’ve no idea what happened. All I can hear is chaos and fear.

I’m a stubborn teenager full of gloom, hating you as you tell me I’m worth nothing, second hand goods, willing you on to hit me again because no pain will ever be too much. I will always hurt.

A betrayed sister, trusting you to protect me but instead abandoned as you shout at me telling me it’s all my fault that I was abused.

A vulnerable woman screaming back at you as you rip possessions out of my hands and whirlwind destruction around the house, smashing bottles off tables and leaving imprints, not just in the furniture.

A bewildered onlooker, petrified as you hit her and she slumps into the corner of the room….unconscious.

A battered girlfriend phoning for help after your ‘loving’ hands squeezed my neck so hard I thought my life would end. But it didn’t. Not even when the door hit my face.

An abused, empty woman, ashamed and used, crying into the creases of the bedsheets as you demand that I leave. Because you’ve finished with me and have already moved on to your next victim.

A desperate friend, wanting to help you but locked in the bathroom because your relentless fighting goes on and on and on and I just can’t bear it anymore.

And in an instant I am all those MEs. The vulnerable, innocent child will always be within this woman. Anger terrifies me….and I’m well acquainted with the demon of fear and the grip he has on me.

So I pray.

Enable me daddy God to rest underneath your wings. Your loving embrace protects me. Your beating heart comforts me. Let the swirling dark memories of fear be drowned in your unwavering love. Let me live loved.

If you haven’t experienced anxiety as an illness, please read this

Lucy Nichol

This was originally a thread I posted on Twitter one night about the reality of anxiety as an illness (hence the strange snippet like style!)

Feel free to read on Twitter via the link if you prefer 🙂

I don’t know what a heart attack feels like. But I’ve had palpitations. I don’t know what a broken leg feels like. But I’ve had a sprain.

Please don’t assume you know what an anxiety disorder feels like when you’ve had fleeting anxious thoughts.

So many people talk about anxiety these days. And we live in an anxious society. So you’d be forgiven for thinking  it’s just a response to life. Isn’t that what we all deal with day to day?

Thing is, an anxiety disorder isn’t often relative to life. Traumatic experiences can be a trigger, but anxiety disorders are not always driven by trauma.

Anybody can experience an anxiety disorder…

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Fathers’ Day

Tomorrow is Fathers’ day.  Judging by the tightness in my chest and my furrowed brow, I’m not a big fan of the day.

It conjures up images of a harsh, unloving man who would rather look at pictures of naked women than spend time with his daughter.  I grew up feeling like I had to ‘compete’ with these girls – and I failed miserably in every way.  Being exposed to pornography at such a young age takes an incredible toll on the blossoming of a flower.  It causes the soft petals to dry up and wither and not bloom with the beauty bestowed on it.  It strips a sweet child of innocence and clothes her in a cloak of shame that seeps into every cell of her fragile body.

This shame takes a deep, deep seated root when the father abuses his precious child further.  Exposing her and using her for his own gratification.

Why then does it come as such a shock to discover, 40 years on, that I still walk in that shame?  My relationships with men have been punishing and abusive – afterall that’s how HE treated me.  That’s.  All.  I’m . Worth.   My relationship with myself is failing and fractured because afterall, if I’m not worthy of his love and adoration – my supposed protector – then how can I be worthy of ANY love.  I am nothing to anyone and that’s how I’ve lived.

Tomorrow I choose to sing about my one true father.  The one who formed me meticulously in the the womb.  The one who brought me safely and securely into the world and despite my many attempts to run away, the one who is in me, his amazing, unfailing, unwavering love IN ME.  He heals me – if I can give him the pieces of my shattered heart, IF I will allow myself to trust him, IF I can let him touch me lovingly where others have scarred me.

Tomorrow is Fathers’ day.  I thank you God, that YOU are my Father, my dad, my papa – enable me to forgive and to live loved, as your daughter.

Holding on to me

It was another one of those days.  Relentless stress hammered me from every corner of my life.  My chest felt so tight, my breath so short.  My hands shook uncontrollably and thoughts raced through my mind at a million miles an hour.  What if? Why? When? How? I can’t cope any more.  Not one second can I stand this pressure!  The overwhelming fear and anxiety crippled me.  Again.

I collapsed onto my bed, sobbing, lying on my back and listening to a song that had just come on my ipod.

Pieces.

I felt like my life was in Pieces but this song spoke something different to me.  As I listened, as I lay there in tears, I heard reassuring words telling me how Papa God loves….

‘Your love’s not fractured
It’s not a troubled mind
It isn’t anxious
It’s not the restless kind
Your love’s not passive
It’s never disengaged
It’s always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises
It keep its word
It honors what’s sacred
‘Cause its vows are good
Your love’s not broken
It’s not insecure
Your love’s not selfish
Your love is pure

I meditated.
I repeated those words to my heart and I started to believe that Papa could love me the way He was telling me.

Suddenly, as my painful world continued to spin, I saw a moving picture form in my mind.  I saw myself as Papa’s child being held tightly by his two hands as he spun me around and around lifting me off the ground. I squealed almost in fear but he spoke to me firmly and lovingly saying, ‘Just look into my eyes.  I hold your hands.  Focus on me, look at my face.  Don’t look at the world that spins chaotically around you now.  Just keep looking in my eyes of love.  It’s not your responsibility to strive to hold onto me because I hold YOU.  All you have to do is keep your eyes locked in mine and trust me.  Know that I am loving you right now.  In the middle of your storm, I am strong, reliable and you are secure in my love for you’.

It was only a few minutes of snatched time that I had in my bedroom for it was rudely interrupted by shouts of fighting downstairs.  BUT that precious, moment, that real and life changing encounter with Daddy God impressed on me that He is ALWAYS talking to us.  We just need to stop and listen.

Choose Life

How many times can a heart be broken? 

How many pieces can it be shattered into? 

Even when you mend it with liquid gold it still feels bruised, heavy and blue. 

How many mountains are ahead on the pathway? 

How many valleys loom large and deep? 

Even though you carry my tired, weary body I can’t help but helplessly weep. 

Questions, they plague me. 

Answers elude me. 

Blame tries to find me. 

Guilt sets upon me.  

Love has abandoned me. 

Hope hides its face. 

Trust drowned with dreams in that nightmarish place. 

BUT.  

There has to be a but. 

But God. Father. Daddy. Papa. Abba. 

Your barely audible name slips from my mouth and dares to bring life. I have no choice but to die….or choose life. Enable me to choose Hope. Love. Peace. Calm. Rest. Enable me to choose to do life. With you. Daddy. 

We’re all nuts!

I actually felt sad when I saw these discounted nuts on the shelves of my local store!  

Holland and Barrett may devalue their broken nuts but the truth is those bashed almonds and cashews make just a rich a butter as their ‘seemingly perfect’ counterparts and I buy them in a heartbeat, knowing just that! Those nuts make an amazing cake, mouth melting nutty nuggets and as they’re already broken that’s half the job done. Result!  

 

I think we can all identify with those nuts! We’ve all experienced being discounted. People in our lives thoughtlessly throw us to the side when we are what they deem to be ‘less than perfect’.  

Not the ideal size or shape? Below ‘average’ intellectual ability? Not suited to the job?  

Whose standards do we measure ourselves against anyway? Holland and Barretts? Or maybe Willy Wonka’s?!  If we aren’t a good nut in the eyes of the discerning squirrels then we must be bad.   And therefore discarded.  

 

Discounted.  And sold off cheaply.   

Alas, those of us who believe that we are broken and bashed, live out of that place.  We allow our self esteem to be dictated by the squirrels of this world.  We feel cheap. Worthless. Used. 

 

Plenty of judgemental squirrels run riot in my head on a daily basis but what IF I chose to listen to my Papa. What does he say about my brokenness?  

Psalm 51 says he doesn’t despise a broken heart, he is in fact close to it. (Psalm 34)  

 

My brokenness isn’t repelling to him…it is appealing.  His finished work on the cross makes my brokenness exquisite.   

My ashes beautiful. (Isaiah 61)  My life priceless.  I have within me the sweet smelling fragrance that came out of the broken alabaster jar in Mark 14. Wow!

 
 

My brokenness is beautiful.  And so is yours. 

Holland and Barrett have got it all wrong. They should be charging more for their ‘broken’ priceless, beautiful nuts.